With the rise of alternatives to braces, such as Invisalign some may think that traditional braces are out of date, or less popular.
This idea could not be farther from the truth. Braces are an excellent option to form and align your teeth, and they are still an extremely common and sought after procedure.
There are more options for braces available now than ever before, which means that you have an overwhelming amount of options when trying to find the best style tailored to you!
It’s no secret, braces remain the most common method of tooth alignment, and there are now more options than ever. It is important to talk with your dentist to discuss orthodontic treatment if you are considering types of braces to fit your needs.
What Are Braces?
So you need braces. The next question that is not always addressed is what exactly are braces? If you’re looking for the perfect smile, braces are the most common way to straighten and align your teeth.
They vary greatly, but in general, braces are a long term device that gently align your teeth over time. Traditional braces are composed of metal brackets and wires that attach to the teeth and connect.
In recent years, clear braces made out of different materials have also developed, for those who don’t like the aesthetic appearance or feeling of having metal in their mouth.
Braces are an orthodontic device that can drastically improve a patient’s smile.
The Anatomy of Braces:
What are these braces in your mouth actually made out of? The answer is metal and sometimes ceramic. All braces are variations of the traditional format, therefore they all follow the same general design.
The material that keeps braces together needs to be just as strong as your teeth, so they can gently guide teeth into place over time.
Braces are actually quite intricate combinations of several different parts, these wires and brackets all work together to move your teeth into place!
The different parts that you will notice on most braces are:
This is the piece of metal that sits on the front of the tooth. It is bonded to each tooth that needs re-adjustment. It is the iconi
c square looking device that attaches directly to the wearer’s teeth, and, with the help of wires, performs the main task of moving the teeth into alignment. It is very important, when you have braces, to brush thoroughly around the brackets of each tooth as it is very common for food to get stuck around this area.
Springs or coils are less common on all types of braces and are generally used in specific cases. Springs are needed to push or pull teeth, in cases where a tooth has been lost or there is a gap, as well as cases where there is overcrowding in the mouth.
The arch refers to the arch of the mouth, arch wires are not needed on all cases of braces, and are generally used in more severe instances. They are held in position by a tie wire and are attached to the brackets. Arch wires are usually changed or removed as your teeth move further into place.
These are rings that fit around each individual tooth once the braces reach the molars or the teeth that sit farthest back in your mouth. They act to anchor the braces.
Elastics are attached to brackets and help teeth move into place. These can be clear or colorful. Colored elastics are usually an option for younger patients who need braces, as they can better reflect personality.
Elastics can be chained along the brackets or sit along each individual bracket, depending on your orthodontic requirements.
Why You Might Need Braces
There are many factors involved in picking the right types of braces for you or your kids. There are many reasons that someone could need braces:
Often, tooth placement is hereditary. If your family has a history of crooked teeth, or your parents needed braces, quite often, as your teeth move into place, they will be guided by genetics. This can lead to people being unhappy with their natural smiles, or in some cases, cause severe speech impediments or jaw problems.
Braces are the most effective solution to correct hereditary tooth misalignment. Braces are also used to correct underbites and overbites which are generally a result of genetics as well.
If you’ve ever played a high impact sport or were involved in some form of accident, It can often lead to chipping or loss of teeth.
Implants and dentures can correct some problems, however, if a tooth is missing due to injury, it is quite common for a patient to seek braces as a means of correcting their smile. Personal injury and tooth loss is a common reason for patients to seek braces in adulthood as well.
When a tooth is missing, teeth will slowly shift in the mouth to make up for the empty space. This can lead to a crooked or gapped smile and can be resolved with braces.
This category encompasses a lot of possible lifestyle habits that lead to crooked or uneven teeth. In childhood, a common factor that may result in needing braces is thumb-sucking or using a soother. This is a nervous habit that leads to dental problems if it is not prevented.
A frequent sucking motion will force teeth out of place over time. It is important to correct this habit before it becomes a problem for the teeth, however, braces are the solution to misaligned teeth caused by thumb sucking, once it has become an issue.
Another lifestyle habit that can be a problem for adults is smoking or chewing tobacco. Both can cause mild to severe gum irritation, and eventually lead to teeth shifting as a result.
Despite the many other health side effects, smoking can lead to the yellowing and loss of teeth altogether. The result is crooked or misaligned teeth, that need to be corrected by braces.
Improper attendance to oral hygiene can lead to a multitude of problems and illnesses! You can lose a tooth due to cavities, abscesses, gum disease or oral cancer, to name a few. When this happens, as with tooth loss due to injury or lifestyle, the teeth slowly shift in the mouth, causing a crooked smile.
Braces are needed to shift the teeth back into place, once the illness or oral irritation has been resolved.
Illness is one of the most commonly preventable reasons for individuals to need braces. This is why it is extremely important to visit your dentist frequently and to report any problems or sensitivities quickly before an illness develops and tooth loss occurs.
How Do Traditional Braces Work?
Unaligned teeth may not seem like a big deal, however, if the issue is not resolved early, the effects can worsen over time. This can lead to severe orthodontic issues if left unresolved.
In extreme cases, having crooked or overlapping teeth can affect the way your jaws align. This can lead to extensive pain, trouble eating and even trouble with speech.
Another side effect of crooked teeth is difficulty with cleaning, brushing or flossing the teeth. Over time, this inability to properly clean teeth can lead to cavities, gum irritation, and serious infection.
Types of Braces
When people hear the word “braces” the most common image that comes to mind is the vision of metal tracks running along the teeth.
Those are traditional braces. Although they are still very common, there are many alternatives to the original look and style of braces!
Contrary to popular belief, not all braces are the same. There are braces to suit your unique personal style or orthodontic needs.
Traditional Metal Braces
These are by far, the most commonly and widely used style of braces. Traditional braces are made of durable stainless steel and elastics. They sit in the front of the tooth and are connected with bands to span the entire area of the mouth that needs orthodontic adjustment.
There are many ways to personalize braces and make them more aesthetically appealing to the individual. It has become very common to add color to the elastics on the metal braces, to make them more unique and enjoyable for the wearer.
These braces are just as they sound. They are made out of light colored ceramic, rather than the traditional metal style.
Although these braces are virtually identical to traditional metal braces, the material they are made of render them far less visible on the teeth. They are an excellent alternative to traditional metal braces and can be a great option if the wearer is concerned about the aesthetics of braces.
Lingual braces take invisibility to the next level. Unlike ceramic braces, lingual braces are still made of metal, however, they avoid the front of teeth altogether.
Lingual braces sit behind the teeth, rendering them completely invisible from the outside. This is a revolutionary concept as lingual braces solve the perpetual complaint that occurs often in adult patients seeking braces, with regards to visibility.
This style of braces has to be completely tailored to an individual’s mouth so that every tooth can still be aligned.
How Much Do Braces Cost?
Traditional metal braces are also commonly sought out because they are typically far more affordable than most non-metal braces.
The cost of braces is dependent on many factors, however, the typical price range falls between $3000-$7000.
This can depend on your type of insurance coverage as well. If you are thinking of braces for your child, an early orthodontics checkup is recommended. This way the dentist can identify any emerging alignment issues early. Being aware of a child’s dental issues early on can help parents budget for orthodontic procedures that may be needed in the future.
The cost of braces is also dependant on time and amount of braces needed. If there are only a few teeth out of alignment, a patient will not need a full mouth of braces on for years. This drastically reduces the price for that particular patient.
Generally, the more severe cases of oral realignment are the more expensive ones.
Pricing can be affected with regards to the maintenance of braces as well, for example, a patient may require more frequent professional cleanings. They may also need to have their braces changed or adjusted which can affect pricing as well.
In essence, the cost of braces can vary greatly! At LA Dental Clinic, kids and adult braces are relatively the same price, ranging from $4500- $5500. The prices can change or increase if the patient is in need of extractions, or if a child needing braces is very young.
In the case of a younger child, the braces may need to be done in two stages, changing pricing slightly.
Braces For Adults
Are you worried about seeking orthodontic treatment as an adult? Maybe you had braces in the past and your smile has slowly changed as you’ve grown older. Your teeth can move around as you age and it can be caused by many different factors.
For example, if you did not have your wisdom teeth removed as a child, they can grow in and your tooth alignment can change as your mouth tries to accommodate for more teeth! The teeth can be pushed together without braces to keep them safely in place.
It is also possible that adults seeking braces did not receive the orthodontic treatment they needed during childhood, this results in an eventual need to correct the issue, as tooth alignment can worsen greatly if it is not resolved early on.
Many adults seek out braces in order to get ahead in their professional lives. Straight teeth can boost confidence greatly and contribute to success in the workplace as a result.
If your job relies heavily on social interaction, you may consider braces as a way to achieve a better smile for purely personal and aesthetic reasons. You want to look your best!
Essentially, It is very common to seek out a straightened smile in adulthood, and we’re here to help.
A common reason for adult dental patients’ hesitation on the decision to get braces is due to the fear of ridicule, or social stigma attached to having braces.
Many see braces as something needed during childhood, and adult braces are misinterpreted as being juvenile. Adult braces should never be avoided for these reasons as personal health and self-care are far more important than external criticism.
However, there are solutions to the fear of “being seen wearing braces.”
There are now many alternatives to the traditional metal styles to braces that existed in the past. If you are concerned about the aesthetic factor of traditional braces, ceramic braces or lingual braces that fit behind the teeth are an excellent option.
Both of these styles of braces are far less visible, with lingual braces especially, being fully invisible for every smile.
Invisalign is also an option for those seeking an invisible alternative to braces altogether. When choosing adult braces, it is very important to consider these alternate options and discuss each carefully with your dentist, to decide which is right for you and your unique lifestyle.